Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) announced his bid for president Saturday, a black man evoking Abraham Lincoln's ability to unite a nation and a Democrat portraying himself as a fresh face capable of leading a new generation.Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
"Let us transform this nation," he told thousands shivering in the cold at the campaign's kickoff.
Obama, 45, is the youngest candidate in the Democrats' 2008 primary field dominated by front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and filled with more experienced lawmakers. In an address from the state capital where he began his elective career 10 years ago, the first-term U.S. senator sought to distinguish himself as a staunch opponent of the Iraq war and a White House hopeful whose lack of political experience is an asset.
"I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change," Obama said to some of the loudest applause of his 20-minute speech.
Early projected results suggested Democrats positioned for major gains against Republicans in congressional elections marked by anger with President George W. Bush, Iraq and corruption.
Hoping to curtail Bush's power in his last two years in office, Democrats drew first blood, ousting incumbents in the Republican stronghold state of Indiana, and in Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to television network projections.
Democrats' Senate campaign manager Chuck Schumer predicted a good night for his party in the battle for control of the 435 seat House of Representatives and 100-member Senate.
"We're not breaking out the champagne bottles yet. It's going to be a long night. But so far, so good."
LAST week President Bush signed a law that will try to impede online gambling by prohibiting American banks from transferring money to gambling sites. Most Americans probably didn’t notice or care, but it may do significant political damage to the Republicans this fall and long-term damage to Americans’ respect for the law.
So, a month before a major election, the Republicans have allied themselves with a scattering of voters who are upset by online gambling and have outraged the millions who love it. Furthermore, judging from many hours of online chat with Internet poker players, I am willing to bet (if you’ll pardon the expression) that the outraged millions are disproportionately electricians, insurance agents, police officers, mid-level managers, truck drivers, small-business owners — that is, disproportionately Republicans and Reagan Democrats.
In the short term, this law all by itself could add a few more Democratic Congressional seats in the fall elections. We are talking about a lot of people (an estimated 23 million Americans gamble online) who are angry enough to vote on the basis of this one issue, and they blame Republicans.
Mike Rogers, who calls himself "the nation’s leading gay activist blogger" has just finished a nationally-broadcast interview on the Ed Schultz Radio Show in which he alleges that Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig has engaged in same-sex sexual activity.
Senator Craig’s office flatly rejected the claims. "The Senator says this story is absolutely ridiculous – almost laughable," said press secretary Sid Smith. “It has no basis in fact.”
Rogers said he has talked to three men unknown to each other who all reported in detail their sexual encounters with Craig over the last four years. The men were of legal age, Rogers said. (Audio of Rogers on the Ed Schultz show is available here.)
Rogers says that digging into the private lives of politicians who support anti-gay legislation is legitimate. Because Craig supported and voted for the Defense of Marriage act, it is politically relevant to reveal these claims, Rogers said. In a letter to Craig, he wrote: "What these citizens are not being told is that some of the politicians who want their help are or have staff who are part of the so-called ‘homosexual lifestyle.’"
Rogers reported that he took "trips out west and met with folks in the Senator’s region and in the Pacific Northwest" as part of his research. Rogers said he and his advisors are solid on the sources, but they would remain anonymous. Rogers said he tried to contact the Senator, but never got a response from Craig or his staff.
What, then, can the United States do to prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology? Little or nothing. Washington should instead bow to the inevitable.I guess Mr Koppel hasn't seen "The Godfather: Part III".
"You insist on having nuclear weapons," we should say. "Go ahead. It's a terrible idea, but we can't stop you. We would, however, like your leaders to view the enclosed DVD of 'The Godfather.' Please pay particular attention to the scene in which Don Corleone makes grudging peace with a man - the head of a rival crime family - who ordered the killing of his oldest son."
In that scene, Don Corleone says, "I forgo my vengeance for my dead son, for the common good. But I have selfish reasons." The welfare of his youngest son, Michael, is on his mind.
"I am a superstitious man," he continues. "And so if some unlucky accident should befall my youngest son, if some police officer should accidentally shoot him, or if he should hang himself in his cell, or if my son is struck by a bolt of lightening, then I will blame some of the people here. That I could never forgive."
Redwatch was launched in 2001 and takes its name from a Combat 18 newsletter produced in London in the 1990s. For the first few years it was just another online talking shop for hardline racists and fascists, offensive and unpleasant but apparently not dangerous. However, in April 2003, those behind the site signalled that Redwatch meant business. Leeds school teachers Sally Kincaid and Steve Johnson had been involved in local campaigns against the BNP and other far-right groups for years. Then their personal details appeared on Redwatch following a demonstration they had attended in the Pudsey area of the city. A couple of weeks later they suffered a fire-bomb attack at their home, which left their car burned out.
Former Rep. Mark Foley, under FBI investigation for e-mail exchanges with teenage congressional pages, has checked himself into rehabilitation facility for alcoholism treatment and accepts responsibility for his actions, his attorney acknowledged Monday. The attorney, David Roth, would not identify the facility, but told the Associated Press in West Palm Beach, Fla., that Foley had checked in over the weekend.
"I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems," Foley said in a statement, Roth told the AP.
Foley, a Republican, abruptly quit Congress on Friday after reports surfaced that he'd sent sexually charged electronic messages to boys working as pages. In the statement, Foley said the "events that led to my resignation have crystalized recognition of my long-standing and significant alcoholism and emotional difficulties."
In Bob Woodward’s highly anticipated new book, “State of Denial,” President Bush emerges as a passive, impatient, sophomoric and intellectually incurious leader, presiding over a grossly dysfunctional war cabinet and given to an almost religious certainty that makes him disinclined to rethink or re-evaluate decisions he has made about the war. It’s a portrait that stands in stark contrast to the laudatory one Mr. Woodward drew in “Bush at War,” his 2002 book, which depicted the president — in terms that the White House press office itself has purveyed — as a judicious, resolute leader, blessed with the “vision thing” his father was accused of lacking and firmly in control of the ship of state.
As this new book’s title indicates, Mr. Woodward now sees Mr. Bush as a president who lives in a state of willful denial about the worsening situation in Iraq, a president who insists he won’t withdraw troops, even “if Laura and Barney are the only ones who support me.” (Barney is Mr. Bush’s Scottish terrier.) Mr. Woodward draws an equally scathing portrait of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, who comes off as a bully and control freak who is reluctant to assume responsibility for his department’s failures, and who has surrounded himself with yes men and created a system that bleached out “strong, forceful military advice.” Mr. Rumsfeld remains wedded to his plan to conduct the war in Iraq with a lighter, faster force (reflecting his idée fixe of “transforming” the military), even as the situation there continues to deteriorate.
Mr. Woodward reports that after the 2004 election Andrew H. Card Jr., then White House chief of staff, pressed for Mr. Rumsfeld’s ouster (he recommended former Secretary of State James A. Baker III as a replacement), and that Laura Bush shared his concern, worrying that Mr. Rumsfeld was hurting her husband’s reputation. Vice President Dick Cheney, however, persuaded Mr. Bush to stay the course with Mr. Cheney’s old friend Mr. Rumsfeld, arguing that any change might be perceived as an expression of doubt and hesitation on the war. Other members of the administration also come off poorly. Gen. Richard B. Myers is depicted as a weak chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who routinely capitulated to the will of Mr. Rumsfeld and who rarely offered an independent opinion. Former C.I.A. director George J. Tenet is described as believing that the war against Iraq was a terrible mistake, but never expressing his feelings to the president. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who appears in this volume primarily in her former role as national security adviser) is depicted as a presidential enabler, ineffectual at her job of coordinating interagency strategy and planning.
WASHINGTON - Leaving President Bush's proposed immigration overhaul in disarray, Republicans on Friday won congressional approval for fencing nearly one-third of the Southwest border and prepared to head into the November elections with a tough border security message.
Rushing to finish work before leaving on a six-week campaign recess, the Senate passed, by a vote of 80-19, and sent to President Bush a bill for more than 700 miles of fencing. The House approved the bill in mid-September.
The legislation - which Bush has agreed to sign - was denounced by critics as little more than a symbolic gesture by Republicans to appeal for votes in their re-election campaigns. But GOP supporters hailed the fence as the cornerstone of a legislative offensive to plug the porous 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
"It's important that we demonstrate to the American people that we are serious about securing our border," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., "and it can't be done without the fence."
The proposed construction of the five-section fence - along with roads and vehicle barriers - has threatened to tarnish diplomatic relations with Mexico and has prompted resolutions of opposition from several U.S. towns along the border. Outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox has condemned it as "shameful."
The largest section of fencing would reach 361 miles from Calexico, Calif., to Douglas, Ariz. Three sections would be in Texas - a 51-mile stretch from Del Rio to Eagle Pass; 176 miles from Laredo to Brownsville and 88 miles stretching westward to Columbus, N.M.
A 22-mile section would be built near San Diego, Calif.
WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday endorsedIt leaves the status quo essentially in place, while satisfying the Supreme Court and taking an issue ("illegal courts! torture!") away from the Democrats, just in time for the election. Good stuff. Pity some "maverick" Republicans can't stop grandstanding as shamelessly as the worst of the Democrats, 24/7, in love with their own pomposity and buffoonery.
President Bush's plans to prosecute and interrogate terror suspects, all but sealing congressional approval for legislation that Republicans intend to use on the campaign trail to assert their toughness on terrorism.
The 65-34 vote means the bill could reach the president's desk by week's end. The House passed nearly identical legislation on Wednesday and was expected to approve the Senate bill on Friday, sending it on to the White House.
The bill would create military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects. It also would prohibit some of the worst abuses of detainees like mutilation and rape, but grant the president leeway to decide which other interrogation techniques are permissible.
NBC News reports that President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have reached a deal on military tribunals. Details of the compromise have yet to be released, but according to news accounts, “the White House has dropped its insistence on redefining the obligations of the United States under the Geneva Conventions.”
No word yet on whether Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has also agreed to the compromise. Specter earlier took issue with the McCain, Warner, and Graham position:I disagree with Senator McCain, Graham and Warner and the president trying to eliminate habeas corpus, that is judicial review, because we have so many complicated matters. When you come to the Geneva Convention, we have to follow the Geneva Convention.
More details to follow.
WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to require Americans to show proof of citizenship in order to vote, and the Senate moved to build a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border as Republicans sharpened attacks on illegal immigration before the midterm elections.Democrats, of course, are against it-on the grounds that no true American would vote for a Democrat, therefore it's unfair.
The 228-196 House vote on a new photo ID plan and the Senate's consideration of the fence were both part of a get-tough policy on illegal immigrants that Republicans have embraced after Congress' failure to agree on broader legislation that would set a path for undocumented workers to attain citizenship.
House GOP leaders have insisted that tighter borders and tougher laws must precede more comprehensive immigration changes. The House passed the fence bill last week and plans votes Thursday on other enforcement measures: to increase penalties for people building tunnels under the border, make it easier to detain and deport immigrant gang members and criminals and clarify the ability of state and local authorities to detain illegal immigrants.
Republican sponsors of the voter identification bill said it was a commonsense way to stop fraud at the polls. People need photo IDs to board planes, buy alcohol or cash checks, said Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Administration Committee. "This is not a new concept."
But Democrats assailed the legislation, saying it could hurt minorities, the poor and the elderly — groups that tend to vote Democratic — who might have trouble producing a photo identification.How does Ike Skelton react when he's IDed to buy a beer? Does his mommy have to tie his shoes for him when he gets up in the morning? Sheesh! Do they really think people are stupid enough to buy this bullhockey?
"This bill is tantamount to a 21st century poll tax," said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "It will disenfranchise large number of legal voters."
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., said he was initially denied a voter ID required under a Missouri state law because he doesn't have a driver's license and couldn't immediately produce a passport or birth certificate. His congressional ID card was not accepted.
A Missouri court earlier this month struck down the state law, and on Tuesday a state superior court judge in Georgia ruled that that state's law requiring a photo ID was an unconstitutional condition for voting.
The bill would require everyone to present a photo ID before voting in federal elections by 2008. By 2010 voters would have to have photo IDs that certified they were citizens. In response to criticism that this would be a burden for the poor, the bill stipulates that states must provide the identification cards free of charge to those who can't afford them.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D- Mass., who was in town Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her re-election bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.Honest John's bar and grill...gimme a friggin' break. Oh, and he's psychic, too.
"If I was president, this wouldn't have happened," said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John's bar and grill in Detroit's Cass Corridor.
Bush has been so concentrated on the war in Iraq that other Middle East tension arose as a result, he said.Kerry's hindsight is always 20/20.
"The president has been so absent on diplomacy when it comes to issues affecting the Middle East," Kerry said. "We're going to have a lot of ground to make up (in 2008) because of it."
Hezbollah guerillas should have been targeted with other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaida and the Taliban, which operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kerry said. However, Bush, has focused military strength on Iraq.Was JOHN KERRY talking about Hezbollah in 2004? Or...ever?
"This is about American security and Bush has failed. He has made it so much worse because of his lack of reality in going into Iraq.…We have to destroy Hezbollah," he said.
One Advantage of the Republican Party, 1982: Why, it "is not in the hands of the Jewish lobby in America." The Democratic Party, on the other hand, "must look quite often to Jewish money to finance candidates." And Israel, of course, "has become very much like adolf Hitler's Germany." That's Rep. Pete McCloskey, in an interview with Spotlight magazine (published by the Liberty Lobby), Oct. 11, 1982, at 14:A ringing endorsement from the long-time publishers of Robert Scheer. And a thimbleful of cognac goes to Meshuganah Max for this story.The Republican Party is not in the hands of the Jewish lobby in America as the Democratic Party must look quite often to Jewish money to finance candidates. If you look at "Scoop" Jackson, and Alan Cranston, and Teddy Kennedy -- any Democratic candidate for national office has more or less go to look to Jewish money, Republicans don't -- they are more business-oriented....That's the same man who has referred to the "so-called Holocaust," in a speech before the Holocaust revisionists at the Institute for Historical Review. That's the same man who called Yasser Arafat a "man of peace" in the same exchange in which he harshly condemned Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, and Yitzhok Shamir.
The battle [over Reagan's peace plan for the Mideast] will be for public opinion in the United States, whether the Congress will be willing to back Reagan and stand up to the Jewish lobby in this country. Congress has invariably knuckled under to the Israeli lobby in the past, and for Reagan's plan to succeed, Congress is going to have to be willing to cut off aid to the Israelis if they continue the West Bank settlements....
It's also the same man who's running in the Republican primary for a House of Representatives seat, and who has been endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. The Times tells us he's "the best thing that could happen for the district, the state, the nation and possibly the Republican Party."
Once the State Department backed down, the Lantos bill was adopted unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President Bush. That was in October 2004. Why it took more than 18 months to appoint the envoy is unclear. In any event, as the law requires, the State Department last year issued its first-ever report on anti-Semitism. It was a mixed bag, and it illustrates the challenges that Ambassador Rickman will face.
In one respect, the report was a major step forward. It presented the first official U.S. government definition of anti-Semitism, and, significantly, it stated that “the demonization of Israel or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue.”
Equally important was that the report specifically included instances of Holocaust denial in various countries as examples of anti-Semitism. There was no pretending that denying the Holocaust is just another interpretation of history.
But at the same time, the State Department’s report exhibited the kind of bias for which Foggy Bottom has earned a reputation over the years — by minimizing the anti-Semitism sponsored by some Arab regimes.
For example, the report’s section on Saudi Arabia, a major promoter of anti-Semitism, was just 182 words long. By contrast, Iceland was given 387 words, even though the report cited only one instance of anti-Semitic harassment and one hostile cartoon there. Only 86 words were devoted to the Palestinian Authority, despite the frequency of anti-Semitism in its newspapers and on its television and radio programs. Armenia (194 words), Brazil (149), and Azerbaijan (142), where there is no evidence of government-sponsored anti-Semitism, were given more space in the report than the Palestinian Authority.
When I was growing up, everyone thought I'd be a criminal, but they were wrong. I'm gonna be one of the leaders of the revolution.
When the Bush administration fitfully attempts to enforce the immigration laws, it looks for measures that meet four criteria:
They must be 1) spectacular; 2) expensive; 3) unsustainable; and 4) ineffective.
The proposal to deploy the National Guard to the border meets all four!
This plan won't work, and it is not seriously meant to work. It's supposed to look dramatic and buy the president some respite from negative polls - and then it is supposed to fail, strengthening the administration's case for its truly preferred approach: amnesty guestworkers.
If there is one truth about immigration that should have been learned since the last amnesty it is: The immigration laws cannot be enforced at the border. They have to be enforced in the interior space of the country. Create an accessible, reliable system for employers to confirm the legal status of their employees; require employers to use it; check compliance; and punish cheaters - that's what you have to do to enforce the law. If don't do that, you can send the National Guard to occupy Mexico City or dig a moat along the Rio Grande and fill it with man-eating alligators, and it won't matter: Your enforcement will fail
Putting the Guard on the border is a symbolic act. If that action symbolized a genuine new commitment to enforce the law, then it would be a good and valuable thing to do. But I am afraid that in this case, the symbolism is manipulative and deceptive.
The administration has no intention of enforcing the law. It believes that law enforcement is futile and counter-productive. That's the president's sincere, conscientious view, and he is of course entitled to it. When he argues for it openly and candidly, as he has done in the past, one can disagree - but one has to respect his conviction and courage.